JEFFERSON CITY – Today’s teens and young adults are always looking at what their futures could hold. All too often, those dreams are shattered by the act of being impaired while behind the wheel. It only takes one moment to redefine your future.
At the end of first quarter 2021, teen fatalities were up 63% over this time last year. In the last three years, there were 24 fatal crashes and 101 serious injury crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver under the age of 21. As a result of making this wrong choice, 26 people died and 132 were seriously injured in these crashes.
Law enforcement will be on the lookout for underage impaired driving April 30 – May 9 with a high-visibility enforcement campaign. Timing of the campaign will coincide with statewide prom and graduation dates, which are often when teens and young adults consume alcohol.
“It’s all about making good decisions,” said Jon Nelson, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “The futures of today’s teens can be quickly shattered by the consequences of one moment – one careless decision to get behind the wheel while impaired.”
Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law. If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you’re caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your system. Consequences of drunk driving include jail time, the loss of driver licenses or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Other financial hits include higher insurance rates, attorney fees and court costs.
Missouri’s new strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, Driving Missouri Toward Safer Roads, identifies four key focus areas to help turn the tide: occupant protection (seat belts, car seats and helmets), distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving. For more information on the Show-Me Zero plan, and to check out the Coalition’s new video promoting the plan, visit www.savemolives.com.